Nadi wins Gujarati title

Winner Gujarati IDC finalist Nadi team with their spoils after beating Lami in a penalty shoot out at Ratu Cakobau Park yesterday. Picture: RAMA

NADI Gujarati football team is the new champion of the 2018 Vodafone Fiji Gujarati Inter District Championship after beating Lami in a penalty shootout 6-5, at the Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori yesterday.

Defending champions Lautoka was bundled out of the competition in the semi-final losing to Nadi 1-0 while Lami defeated Suva 1-0 in the second semi-final.

Nadi team manager Hiten Pala was emotionally happy with the win, knowing the sacrifices, commitment and the hardship they faced to reach this far.

“It feels great to win because we had some injuries during the competition and we had a young side without much experience and some of our players have moved to other districts but we still managed to overcome all the obstacles,” Pala said.

Nadi won the tournament in 2015 and they’ve made it their mission to win this year.

“From 2015 we’ve lost six players, four have moved to Lautoka and we are still developing young players and they’ve done well. Lami coach Ronald Ram said despite the loss, they’ve learnt a great lesson in the tournament.

“We had some opportunities but we failed to deliver but I thank the team for their commitment and one thing we’ve taught ourselves is the importance of working together as a team,” Ram said.

“This is not the end of the road for us but a buildup towards the next tournament in Nadi.”

The Fiji Gujarati Sports Association president Sanjay Patel aims to host a bigger and better tournament next year.

“We will try to include some other sports next year and make the event more exciting and invite other Gujarati families in the country to be part of the next celebration,” Patel said.

The third and fourth match between Lautoka and Suva was cancelled but in the fifth place Navua beat Rewa 1-0.

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